Enter the Dragon Café! Want to Help Out?
The Dragon Café was set up by Mental Fight Club and is the UK’s first ‘mental health café’ and creative space. Based in the crypt of St George the Martyr’s Church in Borough High St, the user led service is a weekly pop-up café with a packed programme of creative activities and events from salsa to Thai Chi; photography to poetry. All are welcome but the VIPs at The Dragon Café are those who are struggling through vulnerability, mental illness and recovery. Currently one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. The cafe provides a social forum for creative expression beyond psychiatric labels and tackling social isolation and stigma over a cup of tea and a slice of carrot cake.
Open every Monday (but only on a Monday) from 12 midday to 8.30 pm. The Dragon Cafe provides a simple, affordable, healthy menu each week, and a wide range of creative and well-being activities, all of which are free and open to all. sak [at] betterbankside.co.uk (subject: Support%20Mental%20Fight%20Club's%20Dragon%20Cafe) (Contact us if you are interested in getting involved).
There are four options so please keep scrolling down the page.
1) Skills Based Volunteering/ in kind support with Mental Fight Club (flexible on days and times)
- Presentation and grant writing skills advice
- HR advice on employment issues and recruitment
- Support for PR and marketing
- Guidance on how to use social media
- Advice on Information technology - data collection and retention, storage, back up, website
- Mentoring staff
- Guidance on branding
- Legal advice
- See point four for individual and group practical volunteering opportunities at the Dragon Cafe
2) In Kind Support/ Donations
- Ingredients for their Monday meals eg food, coffee, tea
- Equipment for running their sessions eg equipment, paper, craft material
- Access to local venues or your meetings rooms on an ad hoc basis
- Advertising support through email networks for the Dragon Café, Mental Fight Club event
- Fundraising activities
3) Other ways to support Mental Fight Clubs work
Boost the wellbeing of your employees by inviting Mental Fight Club to run discounted mental health related activities such as mindfulness training with staff. Proceeds from the training will go back into developing the Dragon Café’s service. Nearly 3 in 10 employees will have a mental health problem in any one-year and mental health problems account for the loss of over 91 million working days each year. Mental Fight Club can raise awareness of mental health within the workplace and have worked in this way in 2015 with Marks & Spencer HQ staff.
4) Practical Volunteering Opportunities at the Dragon Café (Only on Mondays)
The Dragon Café runs with the dedicated support of around 50 volunteers each week. They aim to give all of their volunteers a supportive and satisfying experience of working in a creative environment. No particular experience is required. A willingness to learn is the main thing. They offer a range of roles which may be new to you or which may build on your existing skills, whichever you prefer.
Ideally volunteers are needed for a minimum of 4 hours but this can be discussed.
These roles include
- Providing a warm welcome on reception
- Meeting and greeting new Patrons
- Setting up the creative areas (from 9am)
- Packing away the creative spaces approx (to 9pm)
- Assisting in the Art Area
- Supporting lunch preparation in the kitchen
- Serving delicious food and drinks from their friendly vegetarian kitchen
- Learning technical support in lighting, sound and stage management
- Overseeing their information table
- Helping with activities e.g. football, arts and crafts and engaging with patrons
- Keeping the creative show on the road as a Creative Volunteer
- Potential to run a session as part of the Café sessions can be of a wide variety from creative e.g. arts and crafts, dance, writing workshop, to personal skills development e.g. conflict resolution, confidence building or something one of your colleagues is interested in sharing their knowledge on
Most shifts for volunteers are around 4 hours long and take place between 8am – 9.30pm. Length of shifts can be discussed depending on capacity and availability.
One off small team volunteering sessions can be facilitated (max 10 people depending on the week).
As a regular volunteer they will give you:
- Your very own bespoke Dragon Cafe T Shirt
- On-the-job training
- Free food and drinks from our delicious kitchen
- Reimburse your travel expenses up to £10 per day – you must provide full receipts
- Two free bespoke training days covering the essentials plus their mindful working ethos, roles and boundaries. The Mindful Working & Reflective Practice Training we give our volunteers enables them to develop their awareness of roles and boundaries and increases their resilience in what, on occasion, can be an emotionally demanding environment. These are valuable skills both in the work place and in life.
If you or someone you know is interested in Volunteering with the Dragon Cafe sak [at] betterbankside.co.uk (subject: Volunteering%20with%20Dragon%20Cafe) (contact us!)
More information about Mental Fight Club and the Dragon Cafe can be found here.
Registered Charity No. 1158926